Iceland Mag

7 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

Have yourself a lovely, little Christmas… dinner

By Sara McMahon

  • The chef at work Jóhannes Jóhannesson, head chef at the popular Slippbar restaurant located in Hotel Marina, shares his favourite Christmas recipes with Iceland Magazine. Photo/Pjetur

Jóhannes Jóhannesson, head chef at the popular Slippbar restaurant located in Hotel Marina, has been cooking professionally for over a decade and is among the country's leading chefs. Jóhannes, also known as Jói, was willing to share his favourite Christmas recipes with Iceland Magazine.


What inspires you when you put together a Christmas menu for Slippbar?
“My mother and my grandmothers are fantastic cooks who greatly inspire me. I love putting a modern twist on traditional dishes.”

What do you and your family have for Christmas dinner?
“My mother’s gravlax and gravlax-sauce are special Christmas fixtures. The main course, however, is changeable. One year it might be ptarmigan, the next it could be reindeer. Another fixture is the dessert: I always do my mother’s sherry fromage.”

What‘s your favourite Christmas tradition?
“One of my favourite traditions is getting together to make ‘laufabrauð’ – paper-thin, fried bread decorated with leaf-life patterns and traditionally eaten at Christmas – eating risalamande, pickled herring, mum’s gravlax, and rinsing it down with a good Christmas beer.”

matur, jói, slippbarinn

Jói's herring dish. Photo/Kata Kapitan

Appetizer – Herring with eggs, butter cream, and capers vinaigrette 

1 jar of pickled herring
10 small potatoes, boiled
2 Tbs of grainy mustard

2 boiled eggs (diced)

Brown butter cream
2 soft boiled eggs (boiled for around 4 minutes)
150 gr beurre noisette (at room temperature)

Salt and apple vinegar

The butter is heated until brown and then removed from the heat. Boil eggs for 4 minutes. Put the eggs into a blender and then add the butter (when it has reached room temperature!). Add salt and apple vinegar to taste.

Sour onion
6 shallot onions
1 dL white vinegar
1dL water
1 dL sugar

Cut the onion into thin rings, place into a jar. Boil water, vinegar, and sugar, and pour over the onion.

Capers vinaigrette
1 dL olive oil
4 Tbs capers
1 shallot onion (finely diced)
Juice of half a lemon
Stir all the ingredients together

The potatoes are diced and dressed with the grainy mustard, a dash of olive oil and salt.

Main course – Baked bacalao with celery root, Brussels sprouts and apples

400 gr bacalao (from Ektafiskur)
Olive oil
Dress the fish with olive oil and bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 150° Celsius (302° Fahrenheit).

Baked celery root
½ celery root cut into nice pieces, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 15 minutes at 180° Celsius (356° Fahrenheit).

Boiled apples
1 apple, peeled
1 tsp honey
Dice the apple and place into a pot with honey and a little water. Boil with the lid on for 3 minutes.

Brussels sprouts
The Brussels sprouts are cut in half and boiled for 2 minutes, then fried in butter.

Mashed celery root
½ celery root
¼ L cream
¼ L water
50 gr butter
Apple vinegar

Dice the celery root, boil it in the water, and cream until soft. Place into blender and blitz until it becomes smooth. Add the butter and then add vinegar and salt to taste.

Dessert - Mom’s sherry fromage

2 eggs
100 gr sugar

1 dL medium dry sherry
2,5 sheets of gelatin

50 gr grated chocolate
3 dL cream

Whip the egg yolks and sugar together, add the sherry and melted gelatin. Beat the egg whites till stiff, then add the whipped cream. Finally gently fold the melted chocolate into the mix.

Place ground French macaroons in a bowl, drizzle some sherry over them, and mix in some cowberry jam. Spread the cream mixture on top and let rest in a cool place. Serve with a bit of ground chocolate and cream on top. 

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